Dear Youngins: A Message To Post-Jerry Deadheads


Source: Charles Shultz
by Russell S. Glowatz

This is a message for all those post-Jerry deadheads out there that came of age after 1995, and on occasion feel like they’re perpetually longing for something that occurred before their time. I was inspired to write this after seeing a young deadhead post a “woe is me for not seeing Jerry” YouTube comment under the video of Grateful Dead performing “So Many Roads” at their last concert on July 9th, 1995. That soulful performance represented an increasingly rare, yet strong showing by Garcia in those later years, and I can not deny sometimes feeling a sense of yearning when scrolling through those now old videos. Yet even as post-Jerry heads, we have A LOT to be grateful for.

As post-Jerry Deadheads we’ve had plenty to be thankful for in the recent past, and plenty to be appreciative for in the future. We’re alive. Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart are still kicking and avidly making music for the masses. We are still basking in a stellar five show run featuring arguably the closest replications of bona fide Grateful Dead shows that we will get to see in our lifetimes. Whether in Chi-town, across the greater USA, or just about anywhere on Earth (sans North Korea), we’ve had the opportunity to take in these shows, LIVE! Pay-per-view, IMAX simulcasts, SiriusXM, cable TV, bootleg video streams, taper audio streams, #taperrob, with up to the minute live social networking. None of us have had much an excuse not to celebrate one way or another this past week regardless of our geographic locale. Technology, man. It’s a trip.

“And the band keeps playing’ on!” Weir, Hart, and Kreutzmann are heavily rumored to be going out on tour together this very fall. Phil Lesh has a residency planned starting in October at Peter Shapiro’s Capitol Theater in Port Chester, NY. Phil is playing Lockn’ this summer, Bobby and Billy are playing The Peach. Mickey, Bill, Phil, and Bobby have various on and off again side projects of their own. They all play Dead music! They all reinvent this music time and time again. Have you heard Mickey Hart Band? Talk about reinvention! And while Phil plays residencies in New York, he also plays them out west at his very own Terrapin Crossroads. Bobby founded TRI Studios, a state of the art live streaming concert facility. He’s part owner of the Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley. Ratdog. Ratdog. Ratdog. We will be seeing lots of Bobby. But yeah, these guys are old, and it’s not the same, and they won’t exactly be around forever, but they’re around now, and its pretty effing good! Take it in.So yeah, one day they’ll all be gone. But guess who will be here? Us post-Jerry deadheads. And Dark Star Orchestra. Joe Russo’s Almost Dead. Umpteen Grateful Dead cover bands. Some of the national variety, some of the local home-brewed camp. Some will entirely reinvent the music, while some will aim for total replication, and those that do will create scenarios where if you close your eyes you’ll feel like you’re at a genuine authentic Dead show. There’ll be lots of gatherings, albeit smaller than the old days, but they’ll be unforgettable and nostalgic.

There will be bigger shakedowns for younger bands like Phish, Widespread Panic, and The String Cheese Incident, and a plethora of face melting jam bands. And if a handful of older jaded deadheads give you crap about liking Phish, go tell ’em to eff themselves (Let Trey Sing). And then think to yourself that when “the band’s all packed and gone,” we’ll still be here dancing and shaking our bones to so much amazing music. And there will be younger deadheads; a new generation. This is gonna happen, because truly the music never does stop.

And those who, from time to time, make you feel that you missed out by not seeing Jerry…those folks?!? They’ll be dead. And the new generation of deadheads will look to us and ask us “what was it like to see the core four play live and together?” “How good were all their solo projects?” “Where were you for Fare Thee Well?” “Did they really manufacture a rainbow?!?” Some of our generation may make them feel bad because really, assholes exist in every subculture, mainstream and otherwise. So the assholes will be assholes, but you my friend don’t have to be one. Remember how you feel now, and down the road remind the youngins of all the great music that is around for them. Regale them with your stories, but don’t belittle them. For you once were them.

In this never-ending story that is the Grateful Dead, we are the lucky ones. Yes, it would’ve been nice to have been born a few decades earlier (could have dodged this climate change business to boot), but we are pretty damn fortunate. We will be the last to hear the Grateful Dead canon first hand. We will be the last to hear the songwriters and musicians play these songs in the flesh. We will be torch carriers, as was the band and the generation before us, to us. We will take the gospel of the Grateful Dead into the first fully post-Dead generation. It will be passed down. “So it shall be written. So it shall be done.” The Deadhead Community will survive. “We will survive.”

Source: Charles Shultz

“Some rise, some fall, some climb,” and there will always be deadheads.

© Watts Glow Grateful Productions, 2015.

Please like our Facebook page, Grateful Globotz, or follow us on Twitter @GratefulGlobotz, so you don’t miss any future postings out of our camp.

89 thoughts on “Dear Youngins: A Message To Post-Jerry Deadheads”

  1. That was beautiful! Really well written. I got to see Jerry. But not Pigpen, T.C., or the Godchaux’s…. Everyone has to start somewhere… I have no problem with the younger generation coming in. In fact it makes me smile to see. Let me move over and make some room for y’all…..

    1. Loved this, well said. . Yes we can carry on for further generations, no reason to have any haters, I too missed out on getting to see Jerry live, I was 18 in 1994 but buy the time I got to see shows and concerts it was 1997..I was fortunate enough to see a dead show and experience shakedown street in 2004 and absolutely loved the whole vibe- can’t wait to experience another one before it’s too late. I so would’ve loved to share in the 50th. anniversary but my work schedule wasn’t going to allow it this year. To all of us dead heads,young or old, we are all loved! !

  2. This starts out positive and then turns around and curses anyone who disagrees. This is lacking love and kindness and there must not be trusted. Thee next generation of phony hippies who want to grab up money off the backs of people who actually love all people. This is immature name calling.

    1. You mischaracterize my words…I merely am critical towards those who are jaded and unaccepting of younger heads and their diverse tastes…if you keep reading it ends positive too…and suggests that my generation doesn’t treat the next post-Dead generation of deadheads as some (a small yet vocal cross-section really) older deadheads have to mine. When I say “fuck ’em,” I imply (facetiously as well) that we shouldn’t let others hate on our passions. We are all deadheads, and jam band lovers, regardless of when we lived, and the moments we experienced first hand. I do not curse those who disagree…I curse those who hate on people they disagree with. I have no qualms with people who don’t like Phish, however they should respect those that do. I respect your point of view, however I disagree with it as well. I believe in love and kindness and practice it to the best of my ability, yet I am not a push over, and don’t like when I see some folks (a small group of them at that) haze and hate on younger deadheads. I am not hating on these haters, however I don’t have to stand idly by while not acknowledging the reality of it, and how its affected many post-Jerry deadheads. If immaturity is defined by my profanity then so be it…I have a potty mouth and ain’t ashamed to say it! I appreciate the feedback, thanks. As Ringo would say, Peace and Love. Peace and Love.

      1. “Some of our generation may make them feel bad because really, assholes exist in every subculture, mainstream and otherwise. So the assholes will be assholes, but you my friend don’t have to be one.”… And there ya go, you called it. I thought you put it all extremely well.

        1. Thanks Jeff John! I’m finding some people feel as if I’m not being loving and kind in this piece (in comments on here and Facebook as well) because I use profanity and call out this small, vocal, cross-section of jaded and unaccepting deadheads…yet there are many more people that seem to get what I’m saying as you do. As Ricky Nelson says in Garden Party, “you can’t please everyone, so you got to please yourself.” I’m pleased with this piece and I’m glad you are too 🙂

      2. Well said my friend. It’s an interesting thing in this community how it every juncture up through this 1 that there are those who look down on others because they did not get to partake in a piece of the experience. Kind of runs against the entire idea. I saw my first show at the end of the Keith and Donna era. Does that make me any less of a head than those who saw pig pen? I look at the kids I’ve seen at the various incarnations up through Chicago and I’m so glad they’re there. It validates the concept that this wasn’t some sixties phenomenon it just happened to have started back then. Its a phenomenon for the ages. As someone who saw many shows I am trying to remember a multiple day experience with this much love throughout the crowd and the city and I’m hard pressed to do so. Whether or not you ever saw the band or saw them into the hundreds of if you get it then you get it and it just doesn’t matter. Let it grow!

  3. I’ve found from the beginning that it doesn’t matter when you became a head, there will always be a group that doesn’t feel you are worthy of joining the club because “you weren’t there for “. Sorry, I missed it at the time, but that does not affect my ability to appreciate the beauty of it after the fact. I just do my best to ignore it and love the Dead, and the heads.

    1. You speak truth. I believe the only defining characteristic of a deadhead is an appreciation for the music of the band and a belief in tolerance towards others. You are a deadhead when you (and only you) say you are. No one else can define our level of dedication but us.

  4. True dead-heads would not tell anyone to Fuck off… If old heads give you crap about listening to Phish, you say “To each their own… let there be songs to fill the air”. Those old heads understand and really don’t care what you listen too as long as you listen and support the music you love.

    1. The sentence you’re referring to was written in a facetious manner (see “Let Trey Sing”) in an attempt to cheer up a post-Jerry head who has obviously been hazed by older heads before. The sentence is an attempt to empower him against such hazing. Those old heads that do haze and talk shit likely don’t understand…I was referring to them (a small yet vocal group), and calling out how they sometimes hate on the newbies. However, most older heads are incredible wondrous people, and without them I would’t be here.

      Tried and True Deadhead

    2. How do you figure “real dead heads” wouldn’t tell anyone to fuck off? First off what is a “real head”? I was on tour for long enough to where I believe I know many, and they certainly would tell someone to fuck off in a heart beat. I know I certainly would. That’s not to say that is the general attitude, because it is not. But to think that it was all rainbows and butterflies was not the case.

    1. I’ve seen enough footage…listened to enough tapes…and read enough on the time period to know that you are for the most part right regarding the last era of Grateful Dead…yet even so, sometimes as late as 1995, Jerry would magically hit on all cylinders. Whether it was for the duration of a show, or just one song…there are some true gems from those later years…even though JG was surely killing himself as he tried to appease the masses.

      1. I am going to have to disagree. (with the commenter.) I am old, and thus got on in 1982, but to say ‘you did not miss much’ is idiocy. There were good and bad shows over the last five years, but they were still the Grateful Dead, and there is nothing like a Grateful Dead concert. It was not just the band, the crowd, the vibe, it was all of it together, and the overwhelming vibe was “Welcome to the Party!”
        There were down nights and shows, but as Neil said, “Every junkie is like a setting sun”, and Jerry always had moments that were heart stopping and beautiful. Clearly you missed a lot, but people who try to treat you as unwelcome or unworthy because you were late to the party have clearly missed the point.
        Your article is spot on, thank you for speaking up. On behalf of myself and the band, I would like to welcome everyone, old and young, to the bus.

    2. I disagree Mike…while no one would argue 92-95 saw some of the Grateful Deads worst moments, and many low points with bad sound…etc…many would argue 90-91 were two of the greatest years….I saw my first show in 92…life changing…so to say “you did not miss much” if you didnt see the band in the 90’s is totally one’s opinion and a bad one (in my opinion) I became a deadhead firstly because of what I saw live in 1992 ..but i will admit that listening to older shows had a lot to do with it too. In 1995…even when they were almost awful for most of a show…they would come around and do something magical at some point…almost a different band for a song or two. Unfortunately it was just fewer and further between the last 2-3 years.

      Also, to the writer…it does appear to insinuate that many pre jerry heads are apt to belittle younger heads but that withpost jerry heads…well…there will always be a few assholes….I think the truth is the latter is true in both cases…I dont see a need to divide or distinguish unless to make someone feel better for not seeing jerry live. We’re all Deadheads…i got to see 6 shows with Jerry….Others saw 600…and some never did…no difference IMO. We all have recordings and we can all imagine what it’d be like to be there live. If an older dead head…(or Deadheads) made you or anyone feel like you dont belong or cant get it or are less of a fan because you didnt get to see Jerry live…theyre obviously an asshole …or a dick…and shouldnt be lumped in with the majority of older deadheads.

      1. I was in essence trying to make a sad post-Jerry deadhead feel better through this letter. The piece was a response to a YouTube comment he posted under the 7/9/95 So Many Roads video. Go check out the comment…it’s a reply to a comment 5 down from the top. This kid was obviously hazed by some older deadheads, and my ‘go fuck themselves’ statement was an attempt to empower him against any negativity he’s encountered from a small cross section of our community. I in no way intended to lump ALL older deadheads into this scenario…in fact, most older deadheads are the kindest most loving people I’ve ever met, and I am grateful to have met them and have been lucky enough to hear their stories from before my time. I’m ever so grateful and respectful towards the vast majority that came before me…because without them, I wouldn’t be here.

      2. Mike, even Bobby says that if the other band members put their collective foot down and stopped touring until Jerry took care of his health, Jerry would’ve just went out and played with JGB. Even though the rigors of touring were in part killing him, it was all he knew…I don’t think he knew what else to do with himself, and by staying on tour he didn’t have to directly face his demons.

    3. Hhhhmmm…
      Thanks for your comments and jogging my somewhat spiderwebbed memory.
      I recall a foggy evening at Cal-Expo, Jerry was ill. His guitar was turned way down, his lyrics strained. When all of a sudden, the music, his guitar and stellar vocals broke through for a X-factor, “Standing On The Moon”.
      Still brings tears to my eyes, the warmth to my heart and gratefullness to my head. Thanks, Jerry!✌️

  5. I saw 100s of shows between the mid ’80s up until ’95. I truly believe in my heart of hearts that if you didn’t get the chance to see Jerry play live, you missed out on the true magic of the GD. But with that being said, it doesn’t mean you missed out on all the magic. This attitude towards the younger generation of Deadheads has always existed. When I started out there were plenty still around to tell me how I missed out on the true magic of the acid tests and the vibe of the ’70s. Most of the old timers bailed when Touch of Grey hit. Then came the madness of the scene in the ’90s and even though I’m almost certain that scene sucked in comparison to the ’70s there was still a whole lot of magic in it for me. I had no interest in seeing these latest shows. I didn’t really want to see an aging Weir with a head and face full of grey hair. I wanted to remember him as I had seen him in my younger days in those ridiculous short shorts with a pony tail resembling Bruce Jenner just before the change… and then it hit me! I finally understood the older heads who had no interest in seeing an aging, overweight and sometimes very frail Jerry. They wanted to remember him as they had seen him in their younger days. With age comes wisdom and a broader perspective. And although I didn’t attend these recent shows because the magic of seeing them play live was gone for me, I know in my heart of hearts that there was magic there for all who attended. For me, that’s what makes you a “real and true” Deadhead. The fact that you can recognize, feel and celebrate the magic. It doesn’t matter when you find it as long as you do. I suspect when we are all long gone, there will still be folks finding that magic through audio and video or holograms or virtual reality or whatever and that will make those folks real and true Deadheads.

    1. Well said. And I understand and respect your sentiment. We youngins so obviously did miss out…we know, hence why no one needs to rub it in our faces because we already get that certain things can’t be recreated…but we can get darn close, and create some new magic in the process! And for us that are still young and hungry for live and unadulterated music, we luckily have all the tapes and soundboard recordings to get a dose of what once was, and we are so damn lucky to have band members still playing live for us…and then the contemporary musicians that recreate the music in a new form (i.e.: Joe Russo’s Almost Dead)…while different in style, such acts conjure the magic for sure. And you’re comment about how Jerry looked in the 90’s and how older heads were probably distraught about it then is so on point as you feel a similar way about seeing Bobby right now…yet gray haired grandpa Bobby is the man I grew up closely watching, and have no qualms with seeing…its funny how we all grasp to our different eras respectively. It’s likely because we were there, and feel a sense of ownership over and loyalty towards our respective times.

    2. Mary. Well put. I feel the same way. I really didn’t want to see these last 5 shows. I watched some on free stream, curiosity got the better if me, but I tuned out most if it. When I heard those first notes of Stella Blue, I got up and muted the computer. I just couldn’t listen. I wanted to keep my memory of Jerry, his hair blowing back, bathed in a blue light and letting that perfect silence drip between those notes… Well, pure. I’m glad for those that could enjoy. I hope they also have kindness and compassion for the reasons that some of us didn’t or couldn’t.

      1. We absolutely do…you so closely associate the music and the community with the shows that you saw during your heyday…I understand and respect that…for some the newer stuff does not do it justice, and that’s perfectly okay. Before these latest shows, I had to take a few years off myself, because I found Furthur and Phil & Friends weren’t leaving me feeling transcendent anymore…while that may have more to do with my personal moods than anything else, I broke my fast with these past 5 shows, and I felt the power and spiritual nature of the music all over again. We all have our own quirks when it comes to how and why and when we take in the music of the Dead…the important thing is to respect everyones viewpoints and show compassion as you’ve articulated yourself.

  6. I saw my first show at the Greek in 1984 when I didn’t know anything about the band, and was blown away by the whole experience. I was walking around outside during one of the other shows that weekend that I couldn’t find tickets for. I said to an older woman (at least, I considered her older then) that I wish that I had been born in the 60’s. She looked into my eyes and responded, “You were born at exactly the right time for you.”
    Or, as the Dead sang Friday night, “That path is for your steps alone.” Welcome to the community.

  7. Regardless of what you think about the various eras over the last 50 years, the last two weekends, have made the memories meaningful to whenever you were on the train. Some bailed early, others joined late but the magic was there at some point for all of us. Hats off to the set break videos and soundtrack! Those 5 hours were meaningful, throwbacks and modern at the same time!

  8. I first saw the Dead in 77. After that I saw all the shows I could. A total of 13, My last show was in 88. I plan to attend any of the tour shows starting in October that come within a reasonable distance to where I am in NC,
    I have been told I am not a “real” head because I never went on tour and have seen too few shows to make the claim, Life just did not allow it, I watch youtube videos and listen to XM now.
    I have even been told I am not a “real” head because I never bought any thing on Shakedown street except grilled cheese.
    I would have loved to go on tour, but I am Grateful for what I was and will be able to do.
    I don’t care that much for Phish, but respect Trey for his willingness and thought he did a respectable job in Chi as I listened on XM.
    You are a true head as am I. We love the music. That is all that matters.

    1. The only person who can define whether you are a deadhead or not is you. Amount of shows, or time period when seeing them does not make or break whether you are a true deadhead. We define our own level of worship…and some are more orthodox than most, but we generally hold the same things near and dear.

  9. Thank you for writing this. I love hearing everyone’s input on this music and our culture. I don’t hardly ever comment on this stuff but I read your piece and have to say mine.

    This piece oozes “youngin”.

    As a deadhead that became a phish head during the years 90-92 (hate that I feel I have to qualify myself with these stupid statistics) I know what it’s like trying to get people into phish. And I know what it’s like for a phish fan to want to keep phish intimate. Here’s the problem….

    In your article you say to tell deadheads to go fuck themselves if they have an issue with phish. This is why these two fans differ. This is exclusive behavior. It outcasts similar music fans and creates friction. This is not the approach for a peaceful communal existence.

    Being inclusive. Being inviting. Community. These are hippy traits and the way the GD community has taught us. Detach with love 😉

    We as phish fans have created a niche environment. How many shows have you seen, when did you first see them, you don’t know Lushington? Fuck man. Who cares!!!

    We all love expansive music. Jams, improv. It’s what fills us. Deadheads and phishheads alike. Deadheads would love to fall in love with phish if they just felt included. Share with them at shows “watch where this song goes” “oh you’ll like this jam” “hey you wanna hit this joint?”

    Cause these people will love phish, and they’ll say “wow this song really opened up” and “Damn these dudes can jam” and “fuck yeah, I love good weed” and we’ll bond and grow as a community and we’ll invite more like minded people into it.

    It’s happening this tour. Without question we’ll have more fans of the dead at phish shows than ever before. Help them feel the music like we do. Let them fill the scene with the beauty that they have learned from their own experience/love/lot. Be inclusive.

    Our scene is too exclusive. Everyone knows better than everyone. And at shows, it almost all discinegrates, and we are all one. It’s no different than how it should be in or community.

    So DONT say go fuck your self. Say come here, with me, and dance and have a good time, and watch our Jerry, and embrace our music. And if it’s not for you then that’s ok. But let us teach you the depth and intricacies and importance of it to us.

    And if it doesn’t happen, we’ll all see each other on lot at the second annual FARE THEE WELL shows in Jamaica next year.

    Seriously tho, I’m happy you’ve written and love the article, but I think the approach should be different. I’m a Jerry junkie. Been that way since 6-28-85. But in going to every phish show I can this summer cause Trey. He is my musical happiness now. He’s why gets me off with my beautiful community, and he and this freedom is what makes the rest of my life tolerable…

    All one.

    1. If you re-read what I said closely, I didn’t tell Deadheads that don’t like Phish to go fuck themselves…I told jaded deadheads that HATE on those for liking Phish to go fuck themselves . Big difference! I have no issues with people not liking Phish…but I have an issue with people holding someones Phishdom against them. In fact, my whole point in the end was to encourage those of my generation not to treat those younger like some older heads have treated those of my generation. I guess some things got lost in translation. Anyway, thanks for you thoughts…I appreciate the feedback 🙂

      1. You’re welcome and thanks for the words. What’s happened this weekend is perfect for our purposes. This community will grow now and all of us need to appreciate each other and our own experiences. And most of all have all the fun we can while we can. Love and light youngin 😉

      2. I think it is a trip that we have this competition about how much we love the Dead or who has seen them the most. Someone always has to point out how long they have listened. To me it doesn’t matter if it was 1965 or 2015 if it’s good crank it up. Just be kind. I love Phish as well. I can separate the two. Wish more people could as well.

      1. i’m sure we can! i saw your article, haven’t had a chance to read it. full time job and all. :-/ but i look forward to it.

    1. wow! I just quickly perused your paper…69 pages!!! you got the makings of a book here! I still have aspirations of turning my paper into something larger one day, however right now its about the length of a long article…yet its been six years since i’ve touched it, so I figured might as well share it over the 50th anniversary weekend as a way of saying thank you. Thank you for sharing as well 🙂

      1. i actually just self-published a compendium of all my writing. sold a few copies in chicago! a tough sell, cause it’s over 200 pages and nobody wanted to carry it around. it has 3 shorter academic papers, then the thesis which i posted the link to above, and then a blog with about 100-pages worth of less formal rambling. that can be found here:

        i’m also taking a stab at recreating their music. you can check out our profile here:

        happy reading and listening!

    1. I went to the shows in Chicago with my older brother who took me to my first show in 1985. The band was great and the vibe was indescribable. The one thing that annoyed me was the people in front of us taking videos of the entire show on their phones. I felt bad for them for not having the ability to enjoy the moment as it occurred live and I felt even worse for me for having to look at the show through an iPhone.

      1. That’s annoying…one of the pitfalls of all this technology at our fingertips…I used to videotape parts of shows in the mid-2000’s to post online, yet now so many people are doing it, and professional videos are often posted as well. So I do my best to turn off the phone and take it all in, as it should be.

    2. The last five years of Jerry’s life were certainly sad and extremely tough ones for him. I think they did a great job in the new Bob Weir documentary, The Other One, in conveying the sadness and uncertainty of those last years. I don’t envy what Jerry went through, however I identify on a handful of levels with him. Not with the pressures of fame of course, but with depression, addiction, and being overweight and using food as an escape, I am right there with him. I am glad he was able to find some respite in those last years through scuba diving excursions, yet playing with the band sadly no longer provided an escape. It was all business at that point and he was working himself to the bone. Jerry really in essence sacrificed his life for those whose livelihoods depended on the band playing on, and the deadhead community at large.

      I wish he could’ve found piece in the end, yet that wasnt in the cards for him. Those who deify Jerry need to take a strong look at who he really was…which in a nutshell, was human…likely more human than many others that grace this earth. And in the end, the dark side of human nature got the best of him. Jerry is truly a cautionary tale for all deadheads to learn from…

  10. Thank you. Discovering this band at the end of the road was a blessing to me (I was 15 when Jerry died, and missed my one opportunity too see GD at the Pyramid in Memphis), because dealing with grief and loss is as much of a part of life as any peak experience. I felt lucky to see Bob in dive bars a year after he was playing stadiums, reconnecting with blues roots many times at the New Daisy Theater on Beale St, with the likes of Johnny Johnson. I understood he wasn’t trying to replicate the glory days, even while so many cynics around me would poo poo the shows for not being “bigger.” To me, it was watching someone building a new house from the foundation up – the foundation of blues, and I always respected the fact that he opted for small shows and individual connection when he could have been making WAY more money.

    Over the years, I have reveled in the continuing evolution, not that I thought that the GD experience was being replicated, but because evolution continues, even in loss. I enjoyed hearing new approaches, new effects, the sputtering and ignition of the old engine, new musicians taking on the dauntless repertoire. Even the infighting was ok, because it was raw and real, like any family. And most importantly, because they were able to come to the table and hash it out in the best way possible: through music.

    Of course, the whole time I’ve had to endure a small, but obnoxiously vocal, group of folks who have spent 20 stating the obvious: “Jerry is dead, it will never be the same.” I’ve always thought to myself, “is someone stating otherwise? who is this elusive straw man that you’ve been arguing with?” I never got into this assuming that Jerry would be equaled. I got into it because we’ve always been dealing with underdogs using their shortcomings to find something greater. Because life goes on, and the adventure is worthwhile.

    1. I agree that one big plus of the post-Jerry shows was and is the intimacy of many of them. I’ve found myself many times nearly standing at the feet of Weir and Lesh, watching them jam, close enough to the stage to take in the finer details. As amazing as it is to experience a show with 70,000 of your closest friends, there’s something inherently special about small venue shows.

  11. Been following the Boy’s since 1974. I’ve seen every show they played in Detroit and Ohio that I could, in all their iterations. Grateful Dead, The Dead, Phil and Friends, RatDog, Further. When Jerry passed it hit me hard and I really shut down from the GD Scene. Many, many years later a new friend of mine told me about a little festival in Ohio called “Grateful Fest”. So I went along for four days of camping and music. The headliner group was DSO I was a little skeptical but what the hell. The first evening when DSO took the stage the opening number was “Cold Rain and Snow”, I wept like a child uncontrollably . The Entire four days of music had my hair on fire, the crowd of people, old and young, mostly young, was unforgetable. I remember clearly thinking the dream is alive and well and in very good hands. I was awakend and reborn!
    So with all this rambling what I truly want to say is “Thank You Youngins, for taking care,of one of my most prized possessions with kindness and love. It’s all about the music, the vibes and the culture. I know this too will not fade away. The music is as good or better now than it has ever been. No matter who is playing it.

    Much love


  12. My first show was 1978 with Keith and Donna and my last one was in 1991. I feel very fortunate that i chose my years wisely. I also feel exceedingly fortunate that post-Jerry deadheads even exist let alone are doing such a great job of keeping the scene alive and active.

    I’ll just add 1 other thought. The Grateful Dead were unique in the milieu from which they emerged and they remained unique throughout their career. Therefore the best way to EMULATE the Grateful Dead would involve sounding NOTHING LIKE them. I appreciate cover bands but I still think the best way forward is with NEW original music cut from the same improvisational cloth.

    1. I agree Paul…yet I love what bands, such as Dark Star Orchestra, are doing as well. They’ve given post-Jerry heads (and deadheads of the varying generations as well) like me an opportunity to hear what it was like in all the different eras of Dead. Yet there’s nothing like new artistry…and the jam band community is currently very vibrant, with countless bands that wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the Grateful Dead. From String Cheese to Umphrey’s Mcgee, the Disco Biscuits to Dopapod, and in between…all these bands owe something to the Dead while being wholly original and adding new and fresh elements to the collective synchronicity that is jam band culture.

  13. Just out of curiosity, does that YouTube comment happen to be mine? I remember having commented in that video (I love it, watching it with Jerry’s whole backstory n mind made me sad so many times).

    But yeah, I’m a young Deadhead born in 1992 and, to make things worse, brazilian. I understand your point, but it doesn’t ease my soul.

    The problem is not about being a post-Jerry Deadhead, but that I’ll never be able to see him (and Brent, he’s awesome) live and alive. Not only that, but I wasn’t able to see the last of the Grateful Dead as we know. Sure, there’s side-projects and cover bands (that I’m also, but it’s often bundled with something (or someone) that just breaks the magic to me, it’s not just the boys (I liked Dead with Trey because I knew Phish before I knew Dead).

    Nor was I able to see them live, Nor was I able to listen the shows in their fullest through #taperrob, because 7PM there meant 9PM here (and I had college and work stuff to do the next day).

    It’s easy for someone who had seen and lived the Dead at their time to say that to someone who didn’t. I’ve never been excluded from anything because of that though, rather, I met a myriad of awesome people through the web who were happy to know that the music is being carried through generations and now I have a lot of great friends (not gonna cite names, except from Daniel Marshall who put me in this, thanks Daniel!), as opposed to here in Brazil where most people don’t even know what the Grateful Dead is.

    Anyway, despite being sad for not being able to enjoy the pleasure of that time, I dream about making my own: Going to the US and starting a jam band there – and to get a work there too, (unfortunately life is not all about music until you have money for it), minimum wage there is heaps and bounds better than here, where most people don’t even want to pay the minimum for a computer engineer)..

    Now, I guess I went way ahead of the point I wanted to make, but I agree with your statements, they just aren’t enough for me.

    1. I hear you man…sorry you weren’t able to take in the shows these past weeks….but I hope your dreams come to fruition and one day I’ll be going to your show to see you shred guitar or whatever other instrument you play! Other than living outside the US, and not being able to watch last weeks shows, I am in the same boat as you. I was 10 years old when Jerry died…I remember that day, and my brother, a heavy deadhead at the time, coming home heartbroken and distraught. While it was still a couple of years before I listened to my first Dead album, I felt the gravity of what that day meant in my own way…in the best way I could with my limited understanding at that young age.

      I’m sorry my statements weren’t enough for you to see the light in respect to how lucky we are in this day and age to be alive and able to catch the magic happening before our eyes. And I completely empathize with how you feel…sometimes my statements aren’t enough for me…and I am overtaken by that sense of longing…so do the best you can man, and try to save money, focus on the positive, and do everything you can to get to the United States to see the boys play live at some point in the future. And then take the inspiration you garner from those experience, and follow your dreams.

      PS- the youtube comment this was inspired by was only posted a couple of days ago.

  14. Well done sir! Very well written. My first show was ’90. I was 14. One of Brent’s last. I ran away in the Fall of ’91 for JGB East Coast Tour. After returning 3 weeks later to the ass kicking of my life; I left for good on my 16th birthday, Summer of ’92 and never looked back. I don’t think there will ever be a shakedown bigger or better than Buck-Eye Lake. The old timers said back then that my generation was destroying the scene. When all I was doing was experiencing unconditional love. Something that was only seen in the parents of my friends…I saw Jerry Band and the Boys dozens and dozens of times. Never since then has my life been so profoundly influenced by anyone or anything. I started out selling $5 prints of my own psychedelic artwork. Growing up I was told I could never make a living with my art…Now I am an animator for Hollywood Blockbusters and Triple A video game companies. If I would’ve never taken a chance with the Grateful Dead; I probably would’ve never made it out of the horrible life that was my childhood. So in a sense, I owe part of my success on the Grateful Dead, and the parking lots where I chased my dreams to be an artist. Chase your dreams no matter how big or small…

  15. Thank you, i underStand to whom you are writing too. I have had those your not a dead head cuz you didn’t see Jerry moments. Not everyone is that way of course. It is important to empower those who feel they missed something. But all they missed was the ambIence. The music/jerry still lives, THE DEAD will live Forever in History because of their contributions to music and world culture. They will Live forever because we wont forget and we will carry the torch long after it is passed.
    It’s also important to remember that the dead wouldn’t have been that Loving, healing, life changing powerforce without the fans. The pranksters and those that came after. We are the lore and tradition that the grateful dead would and will become over time. From here on out it’s up to us on how the culture and the life style will continue. Thank you.

  16. I grew up listening to punk rock and alternative music. I worked in Yellowstone in 1987 and went to my first three shows at red rocks and park west. I had never heard touch of grey. I was a deadhead within a week. I still heard a lot of crap about jumping on the bus when I did. It doesn’t matter. Something deep in my soul changed. I’m 46 now and I absolutely love seeing people of all ages at the shows and festivals I attend. People in their 60s and 70s dancing with teens and twenty somethings. The older ones show me I can enjoy the rest of my life and the younger ones are the hope that the music and love will live and grow.

    1. I love the myriad of ages and faces at the shows and festivals too…no other musical community has quite the generational family vibe as the deadheads do!

  17. what a very well written piece, I first saw the dead in 68 so I was blessed to see everyone that played in the band and you know we had haters back then and as you should now we told them to go fk themselves, (in a very peaceful way of course) lol. but you all deserve your place in the dead’s history and keep on trucking and showing generations, the way of the Grateful Dead, so they will do the same, Our Love Is real, Not Fade Away

    1. Awesome! Thanks for the feedback. A few people have criticized me for telling those jaded deadheads I speak of to go fuck themselves…but I meant it in the most loving and kind way I possibly could. I have no qualms with people disagreeing with others’ musical tastes, but those that hate on them for those tastes should be put in their place. Ain’t no time to hate…and I meant that statement as something to empower younger deadheads against those that give them strife. Thank you for being there at the beginning, and helping to pass this wonderful music and the ideals of the deadhead community down to future generations. Without you, I and thousands of others wouldn’t be here, and we are ever so grateful. As Ringo would say, Peace and Love. Peace and Love.

  18. Beautiful article, well written and excellently put forth. My only beef is with the title. “Youngins” is probably meant to be “Young’uns”, a contraction of the western Appalachian pronunciation of “young ones”. I know; I’m an ass. I welcome each and every successive generation of those who love the music I love, for the very same reasons. Here’s a representation of the published usage of youngin vs. young’un from 1800 to the present – obviously slanted toward the latter:

    1. Interesting…thanks for the feedback! Obviously the word ‘youngin’ doesn’t really exist, and is slang…considered using the word younglings, but didn’t like how it sounded. I suppose ‘young’uns would be more proper, as it is a more conventional contraction, but I’m probably gonna stick with the slang since its already been dispersed so far and wide. I did check my usage beforehand, and ‘youngin’ does show up in the urban dictionary as a slang word, so I went with it.

  19. Dear Truly Young’uns – I have to tell you you missed the greatest years of the Dead by not being in SF early enough to hear the Warlocks, to hang out at the Avalon, to see them at Family Dog out on the beach, to catch them in San Rafael the night Janis dropped in to join in the jam after her gig at Fillmore. To have hung out at Owsley’s place in the Oakland Hills singing with Jerry and Marmaduke when New Riders wasn’t even an idea yet and Jerry was just learning pedal steel. To have played a bunch of Palo Alto coffee houses with them as “Hot Air.” To have taken your kid to his first Dead concert Dec. 31 1970, in utero. To have been around before people were bootlegging every note and we were just living in the moment in the music and the madness. Sorry you missed it.

    1. No need to be sorry. Grateful to fit in this long, strange, trip just where I am. Living in the moment, and looking forward to what the future will have to offer.

  20. Well said Russell. And great comments folks. Now I won’t bore anyone by stating how many times I saw Jerry play.. (approximately too many to count). I only have one minor rant, and that is: Why do we so often NOT capitalize the name of our precious planet Earth? We typically capitalize place names, from streets to cities, continents to countries, right? How ’bout our world? Our beleaguered Mother needs all the support we can muster, even the tiny gesture of a properly capitalized name. Shall we offer her this little token of dignity? Let’s all respect our Mama. Remember, earth is that wonderful black stuff in your garden, Earth is our big beautiful round world. I believe that when Mickey said “Be Kind”, he meant to everyone and everything. “Picture a bright blue ball, just spinning, spinning free..

  21. Truly inspiring words my friend. This week watching all the Fare Thee Well stuff and not being there was really hard. But I think to myself that some of my best Dead moments were not at the shows themselves although that where the magic happens. It was the back porch on a summers night with friends, the driving through mountains and other beautiful scenes, parties with family and friends, my three year old son dancing, losses of people close, changes of life and the everyday movement we all weave in and out of. The Grateful Dead were my soundtrack to all of these moments joyous and sad. It’s bigger than going to a concert in some ways although I’ll always I missed but I was fortunate to be of age during their last ten years together. It makes me very happy that this experience will live on and carry on through future generations and we all are stewards of their legacy. Face it, we all feel like ourselves and the people we want to be when we are at these shows. I will never stop believing in magic and I will be quite happy to help others, old and young discover it as well. So hold on and don’t let go! Peace brothers and sisters!

  22. Hello my good people, Im from India and i’ve been listening to the dead since 1991. I never saw the grateful dead play live ever. but sure have listen to whole of tapes of good nights and not so good nights. Each time i see the band on youtube and the tribe having a good time it makes me go smile smile smile. Today i carry the music, the philosophy, the vibe and empathy with me where ever i go. The Dead taught me to be kind, to accept, and to include and share. I own a lot to the band. I just hope the old timers will have the heart to include the young ones and guide them through the journey. Im saying this because i was lucky to have the guidance of old timers who themselves havent seen the band live. The music will never stop. The tribe will grow. old faces will pass on while the new faces will shine and glow. Jerry is my Guru. Bob is my Hero. Phil is my college prof i never had. Bill and Micky are my uncles who i run to when looking for some new adventure. I wish peace to all you wonderful people i never met. And hey let the good times roll! : )

    1. Awesome Suman…stay tuned for my next post…which you may like because it involves the international Deadhead community. Thanks for the words and keep on truckin’.

  23. I get what you’re saying. I was 14 when Jerry died. My parents weren’t Heads so I missed out. It doesn’t mean that I don’t put on a show, dance around, & at certain points have to lay down, close my eyes & cry at the beauty of the music. There have been a handful of Heads who’ve looked down on me for not seeing Jerry, or liking Phish, or liking WSP… Most Heads just appreciate talking about the music. I’m proud to say that my 17 year old niece streamed the 1st night (@ my request) & sent me a text saying, “I didn’t realize they were this amazing!” Yes, since she was a little girl I’ve played GD in my car with her. It just wasn’t her time to let it sink in then. So happy to see new Heads come into the community.

    1. Thanks for the words. I was 10 when Jerry died…my older brother was a deadhead, and I remember him coming home that day distraught. While I didn’t quite ‘get it’ at that age, I felt the gravity of that day at that time. Can still visualize where I was, in my head. Little did I know that a few short years later I’d be swept up by the same subculture. No one should look down upon another just for not being born when they were…the music never stopped, and while I may have not experienced a Grateful Dead concert live and in person, I’ve certainly experienced the vibe, community, and music, time and time again. And the band keeps playin’ on…

  24. Well said! This music and music in a similar vein, created by countless great musicians, will live on forever. It’s a rich vein, blues, jazz, on and on. It’s primal stuff, so it will always be there to be scooped up and transformed by makers and listeners and lovers of this genre of music. The wheel keeps turning and it won’t slow down … Or something like that. 🙂

    1. To each their own…but sometimes when you don’t have anything nice to say, or at least constructively critical, then maybe you’re best not saying anything at all. Be well & be kind 🙂

  25. Just like a youngin! How can you comment on what you missed. This is some Dear Diary crap. I gathered you missed FTW if you got to here Neil’s set break music. You are still a Deadhead, but you missed the man that created this cosmic party. If you never saw Jerry than you have no idea how stupid you sound. I guess you can come to the party, but you and the other fat kids have to stay in the back yard. I am sure nobody will ever ask you what a Ratdog show was like. Take Jesus, he healed real people. But now if you go to church you think you know him. This article mad a lot of youngins feel better & made even more Dead heads laugh to ourselves. Funny how y’all all look the same. Like taking your mom to prom. At least you went. If I was young I would jump on with a young band & live in the moment. Not through another’s memory. For fucks sake you read the comments on you tube. You are well educated & dumb as shit. I am not sure how young you are, but even kids looking for drugs stay away from JGB. Duke Ellington is playing next weekend. He died so a guy who loves his music will play instead. Enjoy. I did enjoy reading your articles. I saw your piece on Jazz is Phish on & I had to indulge. That show was a train wreck & you wrote like you were witnessing magic. The monitors were off centered and nobody on stage could hear the other player’s tone. I am in the band & was sweating what I would read on the site. You should write non fiction if you don’t know what a train wreck sounds like. Just being honest. We have played great shows everytime the equipment worked. Next time you see a band give hand signals in a club, something is going wrong.

    1. You are in the band? Who are you? Instead of hiding behind anonymity with your harsh comments perhaps you should man up, put your name out there and we can speak like two adults on the same page. You sound jaded, disgruntled, and very undeadheadlike.

      About the above piece, it was largely inspired by a young deadhead who was very down on himself due to similarly negative comments of the likes you are spewing. No need to trample on people’s musical and/or spiritual outlets because they were seemingly born at the wrong time. Young deadheads may long for days that were gone before our time, yet most find gratitude in what’s offered in the present. Lots, I’d say most of us get down with what the new bands on the scene have to offer as well. Does our dedication to GD threaten your experience as a deadhead? Does it invalidate it? Does your attempt to invalidate our experiences embolden you in some way? Frankly, if I were an old timer, I’d be ecstatic that the music, and more importantly the message is being absorbed by new generations. It means that what you were apart of will live on indefinitely. That’s a freaking awesome notion.

      As far as my Jazz is Phish review…Id be the first to say that I am not a music critic (there’s a difference between a critic and a reviewer). However, I’m an aware, music loving, human being, and I can write…so I wrote about the experience embodied in that evening from my point of view, regarding audience, band, and everything else. What I saw was a band of talented musicians, and a project with amazing potential. The wonderful thing about music is that it’s subjective…even a seeming off night (according to band member) can be interpreted a thousand different ways by concert goers. And since I’m not a critic, nor a music theorist, professional musician, etc, I do my best to write about experience as opposed to technical details that are over most showgoers heads. Lastly, short of a complete train wreck, which Saturday night was far from, im not about tearing new bands new assholes. I sympathize with what they are up against, and am not looking to gain a few days of high readership by ripping them apart.

      PS- if you are a member of Jazz is Phish (what’s your name?), some of your fellow band members have contacted me privately singing a wholy different tune than you are…And the ones that shouted out publicly used their names. But the song they are singing is not the point of mentioning this…perhaps the next time you want to express your unbridled criticism, and throw personal insults at me, you could have the courtesy and professionalism, that many of your fellow musicians have, and message me privately.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *